LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Rams have agreed to trade linebacker Alec Ogletree to the New York Giants for two draft picks, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because NFL trades can’t be announced until March 14. ESPN first reported the deal.
Los Angeles gets the Giants’ fourth-round and sixth-round picks in the 2018 draft. The NFC West champion Rams also will send a seventh-round pick in 2019 to the Giants along with Ogletree, their defensive captain and last season’s leading tackler.
Ogletree has spent his entire five-year NFL career with the Rams, who drafted him out of Georgia in the first round in 2013. He led their defense in tackles during four of his five seasons, only failing to do so in 2015 when he played in just four games due to a broken leg.
He had 95 tackles and two sacks last season while moving into coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defensive scheme. He also provided leadership on the defense, both during the Rams’ turbulent relocation season from St. Louis and again last season, when they ended their 12-year playoff drought.
Ogletree signed a four-year, $42.7 million extension with the Rams just last October, getting $30 million in guaranteed money.
While Ogletree is a speedy linebacker who has been quite productive, he has been an inconsistent tackler at times, and he never appeared to be an ideal fit in Phillips’ defense.
Ogletree also was a key player in the Rams’ spotty run defense. Los Angeles finished last season fifth-worst in the NFL at stopping the run, allowing 122.3 yards rushing per game and frequently struggling with stops between the tackles, where Ogletree needed to shine.
Ogletree will fill the Giants’ need for quality veteran linebackers as they rebuild from their 3-13 season, arguably the worst in franchise history. Starting linebackers Devon Kennard and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas could leave as free agents.
The Giants had two fourth-round picks in the upcoming draft, including a compensatory selection.
Despite their overall success last season under coach Sean McVay, the Rams clearly are reconfiguring their defense in Phillips’ preferred image while clearing salary cap space. That room is likely to be used in part to sign AP Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald to a lucrative long-term extension.
Los Angeles already agreed to trade linebacker Robert Quinn to Miami last week, and starting linebacker Connor Barwin is a free agent.
The Rams agreed last month to acquire cornerback Marcus Peters in a trade with Kansas City, and Los Angeles also used its franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner. Those moves likely mean top cornerback Trumaine Johnson will leave as a free agent.
The trade of Ogletree seemingly improves the chances for the Rams to keep fellow veteran linebacker Mark Barron, who carries a $28 million salary cap hit over the next three seasons. He is due a $2 million roster bonus next week.